2004 FIDE World Chess Championships
June 18th-July 13th
Tripoli, Libya

2004 FIDE WCC - Libya sets high standards for tournament

Chess journalism has certainly come a long way. There are a number of good choices to make in terms of where to find chess news and information, chess gaming, discussion lists, as well as the increasingly popular web blogs. However, the biggest advancements have been made in the area of  tournament coverage.  There was a time, not too long ago, when players had to rely on chess magazines or word of mouth for up-to-date tournament results. Thereafter, there were the usual information websites that carried the results from various tournaments. Today, tournament results  can be obtained almost instantaneously with the advent of live commentary and Internet relays. Chess.FM (now at Internet Chess Club) blazed the trail in this regard. ChessBase's playchess.com also has a good service.

In the current FIDE Knockout Championship, the web coverage has been absolutely superb and has raised the bar for covering important chess events. What is so amazing about the FIDE-Libya coverage is not the aesthetics, but it is the consistent quality of the information delivered.

On the FIDE-Libya site is a plethora of content including photos, interviews of diverse players and officials, games in both Java and PGN, FIDE player profiles (with their results), a bracket chart and even short video clips! The clips allow the viewer can get a better idea of the players' emotions and the surrounding environment. Live video has been added to follow the
Adams-Kasimdzhanov games.


Players who were participants (and some whom I have spoken with) have had high compliments about the tournament organization, hospitality and the world-class conditions. Despite negative press and boycotts at the outset of the tournament, the event has been nothing short of a rousing success. Of course, there is still debate and discussion about the knockout format.  In an interesting ChessBase interview with GM Viswanathan Anand, Indian GM discussed this issue in some detail and his views were favorable.

Several chess fans around the world have mentioned that this tournament has been exciting, not because of the format (or in spite of it), but because of the emergence of new players. It was interesting  that many ICC observers had not heard of
Lenier Dominguez until he reached the latter stages.  The current chess media tends to focus on the same players (and same countries) year after year despite the abundance of rising talent in non-Western nations. This will soon change. Fortunately, excellent magazines like New in Chess are making progress in this area.

"Perhaps it is Africa that may usher in the dawn of a new beginning for world chess."

Of course, this has been changing as talented players such as Dominguez and Lazaro Bruzon (both of Cuba), Zhang Zhong and Bu Xiangzhi (both of China), Krishan Saskiran and Pentala Harikrishna (both of India), Alejandro Ramirez (Costa Rica), Esham Ghaem Maghami (Iran) and Amon Simutowe (Zambia) all dotting the global chess landscape.

It is for this reason that the interviews conducted by
Ali Nihat Yazici and in-depth coverage are so important. These interviews are insightful and may give inspiration where it could not reach before. FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov mentioned that the FIDE Championship has been held in Africa for the first time. Perhaps it is Africa that may usher in the dawn of a new beginning for world chess.

Dr. Daaim Shabazz - The Chess Drum

GM Veselin Topalov

Ali Nihat Yazici interviews Indian GMs, Pentala Harikrishna and Krishan Saskiran.

Posted by The Chess Drum: 9 July 2004